Knowing the symptoms of an electrical problem can help you make repairs to prevent a dangerous situation that might lead to electrocution or property damage. You may be able to troubleshoot some of these electrical issues yourself, but be cautious when working with electricity. Many problems need diagnosis and repair from a professional electrician. Learn the warning signs of home electrical problems.
Circuit breakers are designed to trip when a circuit is overloaded. By shutting off the electrical supply, the breaker prevents wires from overheating and potentially starting a fire.
Breakers can also trip when they become old. Occasional tripping can indicate simple overloads. Try plugging the appliance into a different circuit. If a circuit breaker trips frequently, you should consult an electrician.
Working inside an electrical panel requires skill. Even with the main breaker shut off, electrical power is still entering the panel. Leave this type of work to an experienced professional. Never replace a circuit breaker or fuse with a higher rated one because this can cause overheating and fire.
If you feel a mild shock or tingle when touching an appliance, a ground fault in the appliance or improper electrical wiring may be the cause.
If you notice a shock after crossing a carpeted surface, it may be from static, which is common in the winter and not cause for concern.
You should, however, take other types of electrical shock seriously as you don’t want to risk the situation becoming worse.
You should occasionally check the area around your ceiling light fixtures for warmth because not all fixtures are well insulated. In addition, if you exceed the maximum recommended wattage for the bulb, the fixture can overheat. Too much heat build-up could pose a fire hazard.
Switching to compact fluorescent light (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs provides one solution, because these bulbs don’t produce as much heat as incandescent bulbs.
Flickering lights may be a sign of a defective or loose light bulb. If replacing the bulb doesn’t solve the problem, consult a licensed electrician. The fault may be in the light fixture. Also, either the connections to the fixture or your home electrical wiring in the circuit breaker box may be loose. This type of electrical problem requires professional diagnosis to ensure a complete repair.